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Professor of Chemistry and Fire Science, University of Central Lancashire

Richard is a chemist who spends most of his time understanding the behaviour of unwanted fires, particularly the effects of fire retardants and the toxicity of the smoke. He teaches physical chemistry and, until the COVID pandemic, was giving lectures on his work all over the world.

He has over 120 published papers on the assessment of flammability, the influence of fire retardants on flammability, the toxicity of fire smoke and the effects of fire retardants on the smoke toxicity. He has published two major books Fire Toxicity (with UCLan’s Prof Anna Stec) and Fire Retardancy: New Strategies and Mechanisms.

He was appointed to the first Chemistry Professorship at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). He has continued to pursue his interest in teaching physical chemistry and undertaking fire research. He has twice been co-chair of the world's leading Fire Retardant Polymers FRPM07 and FRPM17 conference. Following the tragic Grenfell tower fire, his expertise in material flammability and smoke toxicity have been much in demand. He has been interviewed on the BBC's Panorama, Newsnight, Breakfast (on the red couch) and World at One, Channel 4's Dispatches, as well as many major news programmes. He has been invited to speak on his work in both the UK and European parliaments.


  • –present
    Professor of Chemistry and Fire Science, University of Central Lancashire


  • 1987 
    University of Salford, PhD Chemistry